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For the 100th Giro illustrator Neil Stevens has produced a poster that brilliantly captures the whole magnificent history of the race. We recently chatted to him about his work and what it is about cycling that inspires him

Words:

Neil Stevens – Crayonfire – talks us through the inspiration behind his Giro 100 poster for Rouleur magazine

 

Because it’s the Giro and the hundredth edition my first thought was to look at vintage photography from the race. One of the first images I came across was of Jacques Anquetil and Felice Gimondi. Anquetil was wearing the classic Bic jersey, which was orange, while the pink jersey was being worn by Gimondi. I added the dark navy colours to create depth, 

 

For a Grand Tour I had to fit in various terrains, so I began with the mountains at the top, a few Tuscan cypress trees, and obviously some flat for sprint stages. Then there are the hills, and geometric shapes representing the sort of architecture you would find across Italy. I’ve based the shape and style of the main cyclist on Fausto Coppi. It fits in nicely to have an angular, thin cyclist at the top, someone who could probably win the race.

 

 

On how riding helps him work

 

Being a freelance illustrator, you generally work a lot on your own so it’s good to get out riding with friends, or a club, or just on your own. Although the next piece of work may not be at the forefront of my mind, it’ll be going on subconsciously in the background and you come back refreshed. 

 

Sometimes I take a sketchbook out with me – just a hand-sized sketchbook that I put in the back of my jersey – and I stop and think I quite like an idea, or the way something looks. Sometimes the best ideas come to me when I’m on my bike. You can take pictures with your phone but it’s really the idea that you’re trying to capture, and a photo isn’t the same.

 

Neil Stevens’ Giro 100 poster is available to buy now from the Rouleur shop.